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Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

Chapter 2

From time immemorial, humans and animals have used the resources of
the earth to support life and dispose of wastes. In those days, the disposal of
human and other wastes did not pose any spectacular problem as the population
was limited and the area of land available for the assimilation of such waste was
unlimited. However, today, utmost importance is being given across the globe to
this burgeoning problem of solid wastes. Rapid population growth and
uncontrolled industrial development are seriously degrading the urban and semi-
urban environment in many of the worlds developing countries, placing
enormous strain on natural resources and obstructing efficient and sustainable

Solid Waste
Solid waste can be defined as nonliquid material that no longer has any
value to the person who is responsible for it. The words rubbish, garbage, trash,
and refuse are often used as synonyms when talking about solid waste (Da Zhu
et al.). Any solid material in the material flow pattern that is rejected by society is
called solid waste. So, solid wastes are the organic or inorganic waste materials
produced by various activities of the society, which have lost their value to the
first user. It is generated by domestic, commercial, industrial, healthcare,

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agriculture and mineral extraction activities and accumulates in streets and public

Municipal Solid Waste

The term municipal solid waste refers to solid waste from houses,
streets and public places, shops, offices, and hospitals. The management of
these types of waste is most often the responsibility of Municipal or other
Governmental authorities. Although solid waste from industrial processes
is generally not considered municipal waste, it nevertheless needs to be
taken into account when dealing with solid waste, because it often ends up
in the MSW stream. Street refuse, a major ingredient of MSW, contains a
mixture of refuse from many sources, because streets are used as dumping
grounds by all generators of waste. Where sanitation facilities are lacking
and a large animal population roams the streets, street refuse contains a lot
of human faecal matter and manure. Streets are also often used for extensive
dumping of construction and demolition debrisattracting further dumping
of solid waste. (Da Zhu et al.). Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), also called
urban solid waste, is a waste type that includes predominantly household
waste (domestic waste) with, sometimes, the addition of commercial wastes,
construction and demolition debris, sanitation residue, and waste from
streets collected by a Municipality within a given area. They are in either
solid or semisolid form and generally exclude industrial hazardous wastes.
So, any types of solid wastes generated in Municipal limits are municipal
solid wastes.

Classification of Solid Wastes

Solid wastes are generally classified as the following on the basis of

source of generation, as:

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

1. Residential

Residential waste refers to wastes from dwellings, apartments, etc., and

consists of leftover food, vegetable peels, plastic, clothes, ashes, etc.

2. Commercial

Commercial wastes consist of leftover food, glasses, metals, ashes, etc.,

generated from stores, restaurants, markets, hotels, motels, auto repair
shops, medical facilities, etc.

3. Institutional

Institutional waste consists of paper, plastic, glasses, etc., generated from

educational administrative and public buildings such as schools,
colleges, offices, prisons, etc.

4. Municipal

Municipal waste includes dust, leaf matter, building debris, treatment

plant residual sludge, etc., generated from various municipal activities
like construction and demolition, street cleaning, landscaping, etc.

5. Industrial

Industrial wastes mainly consist of process wastes, ashes, demolition and

construction wastes, hazardous wastes, etc., due to industrial activities.

6. Agricultural

This mainly consists of spoiled food grains and vegetables, agricultural

remains, litter, etc., generated from fields, farms and granaries.
(Ramachandra, T. V.)

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Waste Classification

5% 3%
Mining, Oil and Gas Production
Agricultural Waste

70% Industrial Waste

Municipal Waste

Sewage Sludge

Figure 2.1 Estimated Global Waste Composition (EPA 1999)

The figure highlights the estimated global waste composition. It is seen

that 5 per cent of the total waste generated globally is municipal waste.

Municipal Solid Waste Management

Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) means the control of
waste generation, its storage, collection, transfer and transport, processing and
disposal in a manner that is in accordance with the best principles of public
health, economics, engineering, conservation, aesthetics, public attitude and
other environmental considerations. Usually, the Urban Local Body (ULB) is
responsible to manage the MSWs in a Municipality.

A Municipal Solid Waste Management System comprises a combination

of various functional elements associated with the management of solid wastes.
As a system, it should facilitate the collection, transportation, treatment and
disposal of solid wastes in the community at minimal costs, with minimum
harm to public health and environment. The functional elements that constitute
the MSWM System are:

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

1. Waste Generation

A major part of MSW generated is contributed by households. The other

major parties who generate wastes are shops, hotels, restaurants, institutions,
markets, community halls, hospitals, slaughter houses and construction sites.
What is important here, as far as Municipalities are concerned, is the
identification of sources of waste. A general classification of sources of MSW
is given below.

Domestic Waste

Domestic waste means household waste comprising wastes from kitchen,

house cleaning, old papers, magazines, bottles, packaging items, garden trimmings
and sweepings.

Commercial Waste

This is waste generated from business premises, shops, offices and


Institutional Waste

Waste generated from schools, colleges, hospitals, labs, hotels and

restaurants, community halls and religious places.

Street Sweeping

Waste collected by street sweepings which are generated by littering,

throwing away by pedestrians, public, shops, etc., to streets. It includes waste
from road side tree leaves, drain cleanings, debris etc.

Industrial Waste

Wastes generated from industrial activities are generally denoted as

industrial waste

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Construction and Demolition Debris

Waste generated from construction and demolition of buildings, roads,

bridges, etc. It consists of earth, stones, bricks, wood, iron bars, concrete, etc.

Quantities of MSW Generation and Collection in India

The following figure gives an idea of the per capita MSW generation of
India and three neighbouring countries, where India is having the lowest per
capita waste generation of 0.6 Kg.

China India Srilanka Thailand

Figure 2.2 Per capita generation of MSW in 2002 in four countries (Asian
Institute of Technology, Thailand 2004)

The following Table presents the status of MSW generation in four

major cities of India. The per capita MSW generation is the maximum in
Chennai with 0.62 and the minimum in Mumbai with 0.45 Kg. Delhi generates
the highest quantity of MSW, which is 5922 tonnes/day and Kolkata records
the lowest figure of 2653 tonnes/day.

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

Table 2.1 Status of Municipal Solid Waste Management in Selected Metro

Cities in India, 2004-05

Particulars Kolkata Chennai Delhi Mumbai

Area (Sq. Km) 187.33 174 1484.46 437.71
Population (Census 2001) 45,72,645 4343645 10303452 11978450
MSW generation(tonnes/day) 2653 3036 5922 5320
MSW generation rate(Kg/c/day) 0.58 0.62 0.57 0.45
Source: SOER,2009,MoEF
Note: kg/c/day : kilogram per capita per day

1) As per the report (May 2000) of Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD),

Government of India 1,00,000 MT of municipal solid waste was
generated daily in the country.

2) During the year 2004-05, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
through the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute
(NEERI), Nagpur, conducted a survey in 59 cities (35 Metro cities and
24 State Capitals) and estimated 39,031 tonnes per day MSW generation
in these 59 cities/towns.

3) The survey conducted by the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering

and Technology (CIPET) at the instance of CPCB has reported
generation of 50,592 tonnes of MSW per day in the year 2010-11 in the
same 59 cities.

4) As per information received from State Pollution Control Boards/

Pollution Control Committees (in the years 2009-12), 1,27,486 TPD
municipal solid waste was generated in the country during 2011-12. Out
of this, 89,334 TPD (70 per cent) of MSW was collected and 15,881
TPD (12.45 per cent) was processed or treated (CPCB)

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Table 2.2 Municipal Solid Waste Generation in Metro Cities / State Capitals
Serial Name of the City *Municipal Solid Waste (TPD)
Number 1999-2000 (a) 2004-2005 (b) 2010-2011 (c)
1. Agartala -- 77 102
2. Agra -- 654 520
3. Ahmedabad 1683 1302 2300
4. Aizwal -- 57 107
5. Allahabad -- 509 350
6. Amritsar -- 438 550
7. Asansol -- 207 210
8. Bangalore 2000 1669 3700
9. Bhopal 546 574 350
10. Bhubaneswar -- 234 400
11. Chandigar -- 326 264
12. Chennai 3124 3036 4500
13. Coimbatore 350 530 700
14. Daman -- 15 25
15. Dehradun -- 131 220
16. Delhi 4000 5922 6800
17. Dhanbad -- 77 150
18. Faridabad -- 448 700
19. Gandhinagar -- 44 97
20. Gangtok -- 13 26
21. Guwahati -- 166 204
22. Hyderabad 1566 2187 4200
23. Imphal -- 43 120
24. Indore 350 557 720
25. Itanagar -- 12 102
26. Jabalpur -- 216 400
27. Jaipur 580 904 310
28. Jammu -- 215 300
29. Jamshedpur -- 338 28
30. Kanpur 1200 1100 1600

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

31. Kavarathi -- 3 2
32. Kochi 347 400 150
33. Kohima -- 13 45
34. Kolkata 3692 2653 3670
35. Lucknow 1010 475 1200
36. Ludhiana 400 735 850
37. Madurai 370 275 450
38. Meerut -- 490 52
39. Mumbai 5355 5320 6500
40. Nagpur 443 504 650
41. Nashik -- 200 350
42. Panjim -- 32 25
43. Patna 330 511 220
44. Pondicherry -- 130 250
45. Port Blair -- 76 45
46. Pune 700 1175 1300
47. Raipur -- 184 224
48. Rajkot -- 207 230
49. Ranchi -- 208 140
50. Shillong -- 45 97
51. Shimla -- 39 50
52. Silvassa -- 16 35
53. Srinagar -- 428 550
54. Surat 900 1000 1200
55. Thiruvananthapuram -- 171 250
56. Vadodara 400 357 600
57. Varanasi 412 425 450
58. Vijayawada -- 374 600
59. Vishakhapatnam 300 584 334
Total MSW 30058 39031 50592
Source: * Municipal Solid Waste Study conducted by CPCB through;
(a) EPTRI (1999-2000) (b) NEERI-Nagpur (2004-2005) ( c) CIPET during 2010-11

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Table 2.3 Municipal Solid Waste Generation in India (State-wise)

(b) MSW
(a) *MSW (MT/Day)
(M T/Day)
Serial Name of the State/ 1999-2000
Number Union Territory
Class I Class II
Cities Towns
1. Andaman & Nicobar -- -- -- 50
2. Andhra Pradesh 3943 433 4376 11500
3. Arunachal Pradesh -- -- -- 94
4. Assam 196 89 285 1146
5. Bihar 1479 340 1819 1670
6. Chandigarh 200 -- 200 380
7. Chhattisgarh -- -- -- 1167
8. Daman Diu & Dadra -- -- -- 41
9. Delhi 4000 -- 4000 7384
10. Goa -- -- -- 193
11. Gujarat -- -- -- 7379
12. Haryana 3805 427 4232 537
13. Himachal Pradesh 623 102 725 304
14. Jammu & Kashmir 35 -- 35 1792
15. Jharkhand -- -- -- 1710
16. Karnataka 3118 160 3278 6500
17. Kerala 1220 78 1298 8338
18. Lakshadweep -- -- -- 21
19. Maharashtra 8589 510 9099 19204
20. Manipur 40 -- 40 113
21. Meghalaya 35 -- 35 285
22. Mizoram 46 -- 46 4742
23. Madhya Pradesh 2286 398 2684 4500
24. Nagaland -- -- -- 188
25. Orissa 646 9 655 2239
26. Puducherry 60 9 69 380
27. Punjab 1001 265 1266 2794
28. Rajasthan 1768 198 1966 5037
29. Sikkim -- -- -- 40
30. Tamil Nadu 5021 382 5403 12504
31. Tripura 33 -- 33 360
32. Uttar Pradesh 5515 445 5960 11585
33. Uttaranchal -- -- -- 752
34. West Bengal 4475 146 4621 12557
Total 48134 3991 52125 127486
Source: * Based on CPCBs study conducted through;
(a) EPTRI (b) As reported by SPCBs / PCCs (during 2009-12).

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

Table 2.4 Municipal Solid Waste Generation in India (State-wise) (Updated

as on 31st July 2012)
Serial Name of the State/ Quantity Quantity Quantity
Number Union Territory Generated Collected Treated
1. Andaman & Nicobar 50 43 Nil
2. Andhra Pradesh 11500 10655 3656
3. Arunachal Pradesh 94 NA Nil
4. Assam 1146 807 73
5. Bihar 1670 1670 Nil
6. Chandigarh 380 370 300
7. Chhattisgarh 1167 1069 250
8. Daman Diu & Dadra 28+13=41 NA Nil
9. Delhi 7384 6796 1927
10. Goa 193 NA NA
11. Gujarat 7379 6744 873
12. Haryana 537 NA Nil
13. Himachal Pradesh 304 275 153
14. Jammu & Kashmir 1792 1322 320
15. Jharkhand 1710 869 50
16. Karnataka 6500 2100 2100
17. Kerala 8338 1739 1739
18. Lakshadweep 21 21 4
19. Maharashtra 19204 19204 2080
20. Manipur 113 93 3
21. Meghalaya 285 238 100
22. Mizoram 4742 3122 Nil
23. Madhya Pradesh 4500 2700 975
24. Nagaland 188 140 Nil
25. Orissa 2239 1837 33
26. Puducherry 380 NA Nil
27. Punjab 2794 NA Nil
28. Rajasthan 5037 NA Nil
29. Sikkim 40 32 32
30. Tamil Nadu 12504 11626 603
31. Tripura 360 246 40
32. Uttar Pradesh 11585 10563 Nil
33. Uttarakhand 752 NA Nil
34. West Bengal 12557 5054 607
Total 127486 89334 15881
Source: * Based on CPCBs study conducted through;
(a) EPTRI (b) As reported by SPCBs / PCCs (during 2009-12).

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Table 2.5 Municipal Solid Waste Generation in Different Municipalities

of Kerala

MSW generation

MSW generation



Name of

Name of
Sl. No

1 Alappuzha 177079 43 28 Iringalakuda 28873 7
2 Kottayam 60725 15 29 Kudungallur 33543 8
3 Chenganassery 51960 13 30 Shornur 42022 10
4 Aluva 24108 6 31 Malappuram 58490 14
5 Palakkad 130736 32 32 Manjeri 83704 20
6 Kannur 63795 15 33 Perinthalmanna 44613 11
7 Thalassery 99386 24 34 Kanchangad 65499 16
8 Thuruvalla 56828 14 35 Nedumangad 56138 14
9 Perumbavoor 26550 6 36 Varkala 42273 10
10 Thirur 53650 13 37 Paravur (South) 38649 9
11 Vadakara 75740 18 38 Adoor 28943 7
12 Kasaragod 52683 13 39 Mavelikkara 28440 7
13 Neyattinkata 69435 17 40 Chengannur 25391 6
14 Attingal 35648 9 41 Vikom 22637 5
15 Punallor 47226 11 42 Kalamassery 63176 15
16 Pathanamthitta 37802 9 43 Chavakkad 38138 9
17 Kayamkulam 65299 16 44 Guruvayoor 21187 5
18 Cherthala 45102 11 45 Cittoor- 31884 8
19 Pala 22640 5 46 Otapalam 49230 12
20 Thodupuzha 46226 11 47 Ponnani 87356 21
21 Kothamangalam 37169 9 48 Kalpatta 29602 7
22 Muvattupuzha 29230 7 49 Payannur 68711 17
23 Kunnamkulam 51585 12 50 Koothuparambu 29532 7
24 North Paravur 30056 7 51 Thaliparambu 67441 16
25 Thrippunithura 59881 14 52 Quilandy 68970 17
26 Angamaly 33424 8 53 Mattannur 44317 11
27 Chalakudy 48371 12 Total 2731093 661
Source: Ajayakumar Varma 2006

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

Table 2.5 explains the total MSW generated in the State of Kerala and
the contribution of different Municipalities to the total. The total MSW
generation in Kerala is 661 tonnes, and Alappuzha Municipality is responsible
for generating the highest quantity of 43 tonnes per day.

Magnitude and Sources of MSW

4.1 Domestic
19.6 Community Halls
101 Markets
12.4 Institutions
22.8 Slaughter House
2.4 Construction

Figure 2.3 Estimate of solid waste generation by different groups

In Kerala, the present minimum generation of MSW can be considered

as around 0.242 kg/head/day. Accordingly, the daily MSW generation in the
Municipalities of the State is given in Figure 2.3 (Ajayakumar Varma, R.).

The sources of solid waste in Kerala, and the percentage contribution

from each source are given in Table 2.6. Out of the total wastes generated,
household waste comes to 49 per cent and slaughter house and hospital waste
forms the lowest quantity of 3 per cent.

Chapter 2

Table 2.6 Sources of Solid Waste and Percentage

Sl. No Sources Percentage
1 Household Waste 49
2 Hostels, Marriage Halls and Institutions 17
3 Shops and Markets 16
4 Street Sweepings 9
5 Construction 6
6 Slaughter Houses and Hospitals 3

Table 2.7 Waste Generation Scenario in Kerala in 2006

Generation (Grms)

Waste Generation
Per Capita Waste
Population 2001

Population 2006

Total Waste

Total Waste




5 Corporations 2456618 435 1069 2543812 465 1183
53 Municipalities 2731093 250 683 2828030 268 758
999 Panchayats 23574449 175 4126 24411200 187 4565
Total Waste Generation in Kerala 5878 6506
Source: Dr. R Ajayakumar Varma, Status of MSW Generation in Kerala and Their

As per the above Table, the total daily waste generation in the State in the
year 2001 is 5878 tonnes, of which 1069 tonnes are accounted by Corporations,
683 tonnes by Municipalities and the remaining 4126 tonnes by Grama

Segregation of Waste

Waste segregation is most essential for the success of the MSWM.

Unfortunately, among Municipalities in Kerala, efforts for the segregated

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

collection of wastes are very poor. The major reason for the failure is the lack
of treatment facilities for non-biodegradable waste like plastic, paper, metal,
etc. The waste recycling facilities in the ULBs in Kerala are at the infancy
stage and the Government is trying to implement recycling facilities in
different city centres of the State. Households, the major contributor of
Municipal solid wastes in the State, have to practise segregation of waste at
source. It will reduce the burden of the Municipalities in segregating waste
after collection, which, in turn will attract serious health implications to the
waste collection workers. Hence, it is high time to come up with immediate
solutions to solve waste segregation issues and to find treatment and recycling
facilities in each Municipality by the State Govt.

The households have to segregate the waste at source into biodegradable

waste and non-biodegradable waste. The non-biodegradable waste will thereafter
be segregated into recyclables, non-recyclables, and domestic hazardous waste.
Each household will be provided with two bins in different colours for keeping
the biodegradable waste and non-biodegradable wastes.

At the operational level, if waste segregation at source is not properly

carried out, there is possibility of toxic material entering the municipal solid
waste stream, making the waste unsuitable for composting. Enforcement of
strict measures for segregation of waste at source in order to avoid mixing of
undesirable waste streams will play a major role in making waste treatment
effective. Currently, at the level of waste generation and collection, there is no
source segregation of compostable waste from the other non-biodegradable
and recyclable waste. Proper segregation would lead to better options and
opportunities for scientific disposal of waste. Recyclables could be straightaway
transported to recycling units which, in turn, would pay a certain amount to the
Municipalities, thereby adding to their income.

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2. Waste Storage

Here, waste storage means primary storage of waste. Storage is a key

functional element because collection of wastes never takes place at the source
or at the time of their generation. A systematic waste storage at source ensures
separation and storage of generated waste in specifically designed containers.
In India, waste segregation has not yet been practised scientifically. As a
result, ULBs have to collect waste in a mixed form which attracts a lot of
environmental and health issues. Waste storage is an important component of
the waste management system. Waste storage ensures the use of proper
containers to store wastes and efficient transport of them without any spillage
to transfer stations/disposal sites. Households generally use small containers,
while shops, hotels, institutions and industries require large containers.
Manual handling is sufficient for smaller containers, while larger ones require
mechanical handling. Generally waste containers are of two types:

Stationary Containers
The contents of such containers have to be transferred to collection
vehicles at the site of storage.

Hauled Containers
The contents are directly transferred to a processing plant, transfer
station or disposal site for emptying before being returned to the storage site.

The features of a good container are low cost, size, weight, shape, resistance
to corrosion, water tightness, strength and durability. It should not have rough or
sharp edges and should have a handle and a wheel to facilitate mobility.

3. Waste Collection
This includes gathering of wastes and hauling them to the location where
the collection vehicle is emptied, which may be a transfer station, a processing

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

plant, or a disposal site. Hauling is a complicated process because vehicles used

for long distances may not be suitable or economic for house-to-house
collection. In a broader sense, waste collection involves segregation, collection,
storage, transfer and transportation of MSW for processing or ultimate disposal.
The following are the major factors influencing waste collection:

Collection Points

The quantity of waste determines the waste collection points. The size of
the crew and the cost of collection are determined by the number of collection

Collection Frequency

Climatic conditions, type of waste, waste quantity, size and type of the
containers, and cost determine the frequency of collection.

Storage Containers

Size of the crew and speed of collection are based on the features of
containers. Containers should be durable, easy to handle, economical and resistant
to corrosion. The containers should be efficient, convenient, compatible and safe.

Collection Crew

The route characteristics, collection methods, labour and equipment

costs, size and type of collection vehicles, space between the houses, waste
generation rate, and collection frequency determine the crew size.

Collection Route

An efficient route selection for waste collection will decrease labour

costs, working hours and vehicle fuel costs. Hence, optimum route scheduling
is essential for the success of the waste collection system.

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Secondary Storage of Waste

Solid waste collected through the primary collection system has to be

stored temporarily at intermediate bins for its onward transport to the
processing or disposal site in a cost-effective manner. These bins are called
secondary storage bins. The old type concrete cylindrical bins and missionary
bins, which are inefficient and unhygienic have to be replaced with neat,
mobile, covered containers. Large containers ranging from three cubic metres
to seven cubic metres are placed for secondary storage of waste. The area and
population of the city determine the number of containers required. Containers
should be available within a radius of 250 metres because, a waste collector
should not be expected to walk more than that. It means that a minimum of
four containers per square kilometre need to be placed. In high-density areas,
one container should be placed for every five thousand to ten thousand
residents, depending on the size of the container. For a city with a population
of five thousand, a three cubic metre container which can hold 1.25 to 1.50
metric tons of waste, is sufficient, whereas a container of seven cubic metre
capacity can easily handle the waste of a population of ten thousand to twelve
thousand. The containers could either be taken directly to the disposal site if
the distance is shorter than fifteen kilometres or might be taken to a transfer
station if the distance is longer. If waste is segregated at its source, two bins
are needed: one for biodegradable waste and the other for recyclables and
waste collected by street sweepers.

Easy access for primary waste collectors, easy further handling of

containers, easy cleaning and prevention of water clogging, and coverage to
protect from rain and animals, are essential prerequisites of a good secondary
storage system (Da Zhu et al.).

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

Transfer Station

When the collection centre and disposal site are far distant, a transfer
station is appropriate to be constructed. It is a centre where smaller vehicles
transfer their loads to larger vehicles to haul the waste to disposal sites. On
some occasions, transfer stations act as pre-processing points, where wastes
are dewatered, scooped or compressed. If the treatment and disposal site is
more than 15 kilometres away from the city, setting up of a transfer station is
advisable. In such situations, transfer stations are required as it is
uneconomical to transport waste in small vehicles. Waste is transferred from
small vehicles into larger container trucks so that waste can be transported
more efficiently over long distances. Normally, large vehicles having a
capacity of 20 to 30 cubic metres are used for a long distance transport of
waste for disposal or treatment. If more than one transfer station is set up,
those should be decentralized within the city, allocated to an enclosed area,
and situated in the general direction of the main landfill site. The timings of
the transfer station should match with the timings of waste transport from the
city so that direct transfer of waste from a small vehicle to a large vehicle is
possible. This arrangement can be facilitated by a split-level transfer station,
where a small vehicle can go over a ramp and directly tip into a large vehicle.
However, if direct transfer of waste from a small vehicle to a large vehicle is
inconvenient, the municipal authority could also plan a transfer station at
which waste is initially deposited in a large bunker and later moved using
special equipment such as a grabbing machine. The contents could then be
lifted into a large vehicle at any time during the day. Such an arrangement
necessitates multiple handling but has the flexibility to allow the transfer of
waste at any time during the day. The principle Do not handle waste twice!
must be followed (Da Zhu et al.).

Chapter 2

4. Waste Transfer and Transport

It involves the transfer of wastes from smaller collection vehicles to

large ones and the subsequent transport of wastes to disposal sites. The
transport of large quantities of waste to treatment sites or the final disposal site
is really a complex affair requiring elaborate planning by experts, and it acts as
a bottleneck of efficiency in most Indian cities. Lengthy loading time due to
manual loading, and long distance to processing centre or disposal site are
major blocking factors affecting the efficiency of transportation. The longer
the distance to the landfill site, the more the volume to be transported with
each load; on such occasions transfer stations are highly preferred. Vehicles
should be selected according to capital costs, carrying capacity, life expectancy,
loading speed, local spare part availability, speed, fuel consumption, and
maintenance costs. Covered vehicles are essential so that waste littering can be
avoided. Transportation can be outsourced to private operators for more
productivity and for avoiding manual and multiple handling of waste. A two-
shift working system reduces the requirement of new vehicles, and operation
at night increases the efficiency of vehicles in terms of fuel and engine life.
The dumper placer system has proved to be very suitable in the Indian context.
An efficient waste transport system without interruption due to waste transfer
requires a professional maintenance staff as well. Preventive maintenance and
timely replacement of vehicles are primary considerations for an efficient
waste transportation system (Da Zhu et al.).

5. Waste Processing

It is required to alter the physical and chemical characteristics of wastes,

for energy and resource recovery and recycling. The important processing
techniques include compaction, thermal volume reduction, and manual separation
of waste components.

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

The main technological options available for processing/treatment of

MSW are classified into two major categories. The first is the biological
option comprising composting, vermi-composting, and anaerobic digestion
/biomethanation. The second is the thermal option comprising incineration,
gasification and pyrolysis, plasma pyrolysis and refuse-derived fuel (RDF)/


Composting is the decomposition of organic matter by micro-organism

in warm, moist, aerobic and anaerobic environment. Any organic material that
can be biologically decomposed is compostable. Compost is the end product
of the composting process. The by-products of this process are carbon dioxide
and water. Compost is peaty humus, dark in colour and has a crumbly texture,
an earthy odour and resembles rich topsoil. Composts will not have any
resemblance in the physical form to the original waste from which it was derived.
Cured compost is relatively stable and resistant to further decomposition by
micro-organisms. When mixed with soil, compost promotes a proper balance
between air and water in the resulting mixture, helps reduce soil erosion and
serves as a slow-release fertilizer (Ramachandra T V, 2006).

In MSWM, Composting is the most simple and cost effective technology

for treating the organic fraction of MSW. Especially, in a country like India,
where the moisture content of the MSW is very high, composting is assumed to
be the best technology. Compost improves the soil texture, augments the
micronutrient deficiencies, and moisture-holding capacity of the soil, and helps in
maintaining the soil health. Because of its advantages, composting is the most
popularly used waste processing technology in Indian cities and towns. It is an
age-old proven concept, requiring little capital investment and its technology is

Chapter 2

scale-neutral. Compost made of MSW is a perfect soil conditioner but, because of

poor marketing, its opportunities are not properly tapped. Composting is suitable
for organic biodegradable fraction of MSW, yard (or garden) waste/waste
containing high proportion of lignocelluloses materials, which do not readily
degrade under anaerobic conditions, waste from slaughterhouse and dairy waste.
As a method, it suffers from certain limitations also. Composting cannot be
applied on wastes that are too wet, and during heavy rains open compost plants
have to be stopped. Moreover, it requires relatively more land space. Also, issues
of methane emission, odour, and flies from badly managed open compost plants
remain. At the operational level, if waste segregation at source is not properly
carried out, there is possibility of toxic material entering the stream of MSW. It is
essential that compost produced should be safe for application. Standardization of
compost quality is, therefore, necessary. The MSW (Management and Handling)
Rules 2000 (MSW Rules 2000) have specified certain limits to acceptable
percentage of heavy metals in compost produced from MSW, and a mechanism is
put in place to ensure that the same are strictly implemented. Marketing of
compost is a major concern for private operators. Lack of awareness among the
farmers regarding the benefits of using compost is an impediment to its sale. Also,
there is need to market the product near the compost site to minimize
transportation cost (Asnani, P. U.).

Composting Technologies

There are mainly three methods of composting generally used:

Windrow Composting

This is the least expensive and the most common system. Windrows are
regularly turned elongated piles, shaped like a haystack in cross section.
Normally MSW windrows are 1.5 to 3 metres high and 3 to 6 metres wide.

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

The optimum size and shape of the windrow is determined by the particle size,
moisture content, pore space and decomposition rate-all of which affect the
movement of oxygen towards the centre of the pile. Turning the pile
reintroduces air into the pile and increases porosity so that efficient passive
aeration from atmospheric air continues at all times. Forced aeration can also
be used. Windrows must be placed on a firm surface to turn the piles with
ease. If high proportions of bio-solids are present in the feedstock, a very
frequent turning is required; otherwise, turning once in a week is sufficient.
When piles are turned, heat is released as steam to the atmosphere. If the inner
portions of the pile have low levels of oxygen, odours may result when this
portion of the pile is exposed to the atmosphere. Piles with initial moisture
content within the optimum range have a reduced potential for producing
leachate. Any leachate or runoff created must be collected and treated or added
to a batch of incoming feedstock to increase the moisture content.

Aerated Static Pile Composting

This technology requires the composting mixture-a mixture of preprocessed

materials and liquids to be placed in piles that are mechanically aerated. The
piles are placed over a network of pipes connected to a blower which supplies
the air for composting. Air can be supplied under positive or negative
pressures; that is, the air supply blower either forces air into the pile or draws
air out of it. The former generates a positive pressure system and the latter, a
negative pressure. When the composting process is nearly complete, the piles
are broken up for the first time after their construction. It takes a series of post
processing steps to make the compost ready for use. The high temperature
inside the static pile is enough to destroy the pathogens and weed seeds. As
piles are not turned in the aerated static pile technology, the pathogens on the
outer surface of the pile may not be destroyed. This problem can be overcome

Chapter 2

by placing a layer of finished compost over the compost pile. This technology
can be applied under a roof or in the open. Six to twelve weeks time is
required to produce compost using this technology. The land requirement for
this method is lower than that for the windrow composting. The method
suffers from the major limitation of odours from the exhaust air which can be
controlled by using traps or filters.

In-vessel Composting System

Under this system, the feedstock is fed into a chamber or vessel that
provides adequate mixing, aeration and moisture. Drums, digester bins and
tunnels are some of the common in-vessel type systems. These vessels can be
single or multi-compartment units. In some cases the vessel rotates, and in others
it is stationary, and a mixing/agitating mechanism moves the material around. In-
vessel composting may be continuous feed or batch mode system. All in-vessel
systems require further curing after the material has been discharged from the
vessel. Some of the commonly used in-vessel systems are vertical composting
reactors, horizontal composting reactors, and rotating drums.

Vermi-compost is the natural organic manure produced from the excreta of
earthworms fed on scientifically semi-decomposed organic waste. A few vermi
composting plants generally of small size have been set up in some cities and
towns in India. Normally, vermi-composting is preferred to microbial composting
in small towns as it requires less mechanization and it is easy to operate. It is,
however, to be ensured that toxic material does not enter the chain which, if
present, could kill the earthworms. Vermi-composting is normally done either in
pits or in concrete tanks or wooden or plastic crates, according to the demands of
the situation. If done in pits, it should be done in such a way as to prevent water
stagnation in pits during rains.

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

The following are the precautions to be taken while producing vermicompost:

a) Sufficient provision for earthworms to live, feed, and breed has to

be ensured and such provision should conform to the habits of the
earthworm species used in the set-up.

b) Maintaining optimal moisture and almost neutral pH is essential.

c) Preventing the entry of insects and predators so that no harm is

caused to earthworms.

d) Providing adequate facilities for periodic harvesting of vermicast

and renewal of feed.

So, the factors which determine the success of vermi-composting are

food, moisture, temperature, light, pH and protection from predators.
Vermicast is a unique soil conditioner, it improves the water retention
capability of the soil, it has better C/N ratio and pH and microbial population
than normal compost. Vermicasts contain certain enzymes and hormones that
stimulate plant growth and discourage pathogens.


Biogas, mainly a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide, originates

from bacteria (methanogens) in the process of biodegradation of organic
material under anaerobic (without air) conditions. Biogas is a source of
renewable energy. Both methane and carbon dioxide are greenhouse gases, but
methane is more dangerous in terms of harm to environment as it is twenty-
one times more potent than carbon dioxide. Methane is the major gas
generated, so this process is also called biomethanation. The uses of a biogas
system are the production of energy, production of high quality fertilizer and
reduction of pathogens through biological process of waste.

Chapter 2

Anaerobic Processing

It is a two-stage processing of organic material by fermenting large

organic polymers into short chain volatile fatty acids. These acids are
subsequently converted into methane and carbon dioxide. Both the organic
polymers fermentation process and the acid conversion occur as a single-phase
system. But, the separation of the acid producing (acidogenic) bacteria from
the methane-producing bacteria (methanogenic) results in a two-phase system.
Anaerobic biomethanation requires a totally enclosed process vessel. It
requires less processing time and less space compared to composting. It will
not release odour also. Based on the solid content of the material digested and
the temperature at which the process operates, biogasification process may be
dry anaerobic digestion or wet anaerobic digestion. Temperature, pH value,
presence of toxins and nutrient concentration (C/N ratio) are some of the main
factors affecting biogasification process.


Incineration is a chemical reaction in which carbon, hydrogen and other

elements in the waste mix with oxygen in the combustion zone and generates
heat (Ramachandra, T. V.). Combustion of solid wastes requires a considerable
amount of air. A ton of solid wastes burned approximately requires five
thousand kilograms of air. As a process, it involves combustion of waste leading
to volume reduction and recovery of heat to produce steam, which in turn,
produces power through steam turbines. Basically, it is a furnace for burning
waste and converts MSW into ash, gaseous and particulate emissions and heat
energy (Ajayakumar Varma, R.). Moisture content and calorific values of the
waste to be incinerated determine the success of the system. Air requirements
differ with moisture content of waste, heating values and the type of combustion
technology employed. A temperature range of 900 to 1100 degrees is used in

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

most of the incinerators which, in turn, offers a good combustion and

elimination of odours. Dry waste does not require any auxiliary fuel except for
start-up but when it is having a high moisture content, supplementary fuel may
be needed for combustion of waste. The combustion process involves,
essentially, drying, volatilization, and, ignition and desirably, elimination of
odours, and combustion of unburned furnace gases and carbon suspended in the
gases. The minimum temperature for burning carbonaceous wastes to avoid
release of smoke and to prevent emissions of dioxins and furans is 850oC. In
order to ensure proper breakdown of organic toxins, this temperature should be
maintained at least for 2 minutes. For steam generation and energy recovery, the
combustion temperature should be 1400oC. This will also ensure degradation of
all organic compounds. Depending on the nature of wastes and the operating
characteristics of the combustion reactor, the gaseous products derived from the
combustion of MSW may include carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O, flue gas),
oxygen (O2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and small amounts
of hydrogen chloride, mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, dioxins and furans, and
organic compounds. The combustion residues include bottom ash, fly ash and
non-combusted organic and inorganic materials. There are various types of
incinerator plant design: moving grate, fixed grate, rotary-kiln, fluidized bed.
The typical incineration plant for municipal solid waste is a moving grate
incinerator (Ajayakumar Varma, R.). Complete incineration of solid wastes
produces an inert residue of ten per cent of the initial weight. The residue is
generally landfilled. The major limitations of this method are the emission of air
pollutants (fine particulate and toxic gases) and the problem with the disposal of
residue ash in landfills because of the presence of heavy metals. The major
advantages are volume reduction of waste, stabilization, energy recovery and
sterilization of waste.

Chapter 2

The following are the criticisms raised against incineration by The

United Kingdoms most influential national environment campaigning
organization, Friends of the Earth:

Sending Resources up in Smoke

If we build incinerators, we are not only quite literally sending resources

up in smoke, but also accepting that we do not need to reduce waste. Because
building an incinerator has such high capital costs, and incinerator operators
typically require contracts with local authorities to supply them with a
minimum amount of waste to burn over a long time: 25-30 years. In some
cases, if the local authority does not supply the full amount of waste required,
it has to pay the incinerator operators to compensate for their profit shortfall.
This assurance of return on investment is a logical requirement from the
incinerator operators' point of view, but once incineration is established as an
area's mode of waste management, the incentive on the local authority will be
to ensure that enough waste is produced, not to ensure that it is reduced.

Incineration crowds out Recycling

The incineration industry and the Government argue that incineration

and recycling can exist side by side. This is true only as long as the UKs
targets for reducing and recycling waste remain woefully unambitious. If
paper and plastic waste were minimised and recycled as much as possible, in
most areas there would not be enough left to make incineration financially
viable. Small incinerators are not economical, because the costs of pollution
abatement equipment tend to be the same irrespective of the size of the plant
to which they are fitted. Similarly, although it might appear that incinerators
would not affect recycling of metals and glass, in practice, there would be little
incentive for separating out these materials, since they can go through the

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

incineration process. Regional data for household waste from Denmark in

2005 clearly show that regions with high incineration have lower recycling,
and regions with lower incineration do more recycling:

Table 2.8 Waste Processing in Different Regions

Recycling Incineration Landfill
(in percentage) (in percentage) (in percentage)
Hovedstaden 21 77 2
Nordjyllnad 29 63 8
Sjlland 31 59 10
Midtjylland 40 53 7
Syddanmark 41 52 6
Source: Friends of the Earth, UK, 2007

It is worth noting that Denmarks recycling rate is well behind levels

achieved by other regions of Europe. For example, Flanders in Belgium
recycles 71 per cent of municipal waste.

Incineration Worsens Climate Change

All forms of waste disposal contribute in some way towards climate

change, for example, through the release of methane from landfill sites, burning of
fossil-fuel-based plastics, or emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the transport
of waste. It is often claimed that incinerators produce renewable energy; so, they
are part of the solution to climate change. This is incorrect - incinerators burn a
mixture of fossil-fuel-derived materials (e.g. plastics) and biological materials.

A Waste of Energy

When waste is burnt in an incinerator, heat is produced which can be

used to produce electricity. This displaces the need for an equivalent amount
of electricity to be generated at a power station, saving the release of some
CO2, a greenhouse gas. In Europe, many incinerators capture more energy by

Chapter 2

providing heating through hot water to nearby offices or homes (combined

heat and power or CHP), but this more efficient system is only used in three of
the UKs incinerators. Simplistic claims are often made that burning waste in
incinerators will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In reality, most incinerators
are not very efficient at capturing energy from the waste they burn, due to the
fact that they are primarily designed to be a method of reducing the volume of
waste, and because they have to have a lot of air pollution control equipment.
The Government has admitted this shortcoming in the new Waste Strategy for
England: Where fossil fuel based products are incinerated (e.g. plastics) they
tend to generate energy less efficiently than using fossil fuel directly, hence are
associated with an overall carbon cost. This means that incinerators release a
large amount of CO2 to produce a small amount of energy. A waste to electricity
incinerator actually releases 33 per cent more fossil-fuel-derived CO2 per unit
energy produced than a gas-fired power station. If heat from the incinerator is
used, then performance is similar to that of a gas-fired power station.

The Sustainable Alternative

Studies have clearly shown that incineration is not the best way to divert
biodegradable waste from landfill. Pre-treatment of residual waste to remove
recyclables and degrade biodegradable materials (mechanical biological
treatment or MBT), followed by landfill of the end material, is better for the
climate than incineration, with or without recovery of heat.

Recycling Saves Energy

Recycling also uses energy, much of it supplied by fossil fuel power
generation. But, over all, it reduces climate emissions, as recycling a material
uses far less energy than the extraction and processing of virgin materials. In
addition, research shows that recycling is almost invariably better than
incineration from the point of view of the climate. A study was recently carried

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

out for the government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme

(WRAP). It assessed the relative greenhouse gas savings associated with current
UK levels of recycling for paper/cardboard, glass, plastics, aluminium and steel,
and concluded:

The UKs current recycling of those materials saves between 10-15

million tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year compared to applying the current mix
of landfill and incineration with energy recovery to the same materials. This is
equivalent to about 10 per cent of the annual CO2 emissions from the transport
sector, and equates to taking 3.5 million cars off UK roads. Numerous other
studies have shown that recycling saves far more energy than is captured by
burning the materials. For instance, a Canadian study found the following figures
for energy saved by recycling materials as opposed to burning them (see Table
below). The savings still apply when the energy used to transport materials for
recycling is taken into account, as this energy is relatively insignificant.

Table 2.9 Energy Saved by Recycling

Energy saved by recycling rather than burning waste material Energy saved
Paper 3 times
Plastic 5 times
Textile 6 times
Food & Garden Waste Nil
Source: Friends of the Earth, UK, 2007

Creating Jobs
Once they have been built, incinerators create few jobs compared with
recycling (see Table below). The British Newsprint Manufacturers Association
found that recycling of newspapers would create three times as many jobs as
their incineration. In addition, a higher proportion of the jobs created by
incineration were associated with building the incinerator; so, they were not
permanent jobs (Friends of the Earth, UK, 2007).

Chapter 2

Table 2.10 Jobs per one million tons of waste processed

Type of waste disposal Number of Jobs
Landfill 40 - 60
Incineration 100 - 290
Composting 200 - 300
Recycling 400 - 590
Source: Friends of the Earth, UK, 2007

Pyrolysis and Gasification

Pyrolysis is an exothermic reaction where the destructive distillation of a
solid, carbonaceous material, in the presence of heat, and in the absence of
stoichiometric oxygen, is conducted. It is a process that converts carbonaceous
materials, such as biomass into carbon monoxide and hydrogen by reacting the
raw material at high temperatures with a controlled amount of oxygen, resulting in
the production of a gas mixture called synthesis gas or syngas, which is itself a
fuel. Gasification is a method of extracting energy from different types of organic
materials. The advantage of gasification is that using the syngas is more efficient
than direct combustion of the original fuel, as it may be burned directly in internal
combustion engines used to produce methanol and hydrogen, or converted into
synthetic fuel. Gasification can also begin with materials that are not otherwise
useful fuels, such as biomass or organic waste. In addition, the high-temperature
combustion refines out corrosive ash elements such as chloride and potassium,
allowing clean gas production from otherwise problematic fuels. Thus, it is an
important technology for renewable energy. In particular, biomass gasification is
carbon neutral. Gasification relies on chemical processes at elevated temperatures
>700C, which distinguishes it from biological processes, such as anaerobic
digestion, that produce biogas. In essence, a limited amount of oxygen or air is
introduced into the reactor to allow some of the organic material to be "burned" to
produce carbon monoxide and energy, which drives a second reactor that converts
further organic material to hydrogen and additional carbon dioxide (Ajayakumar

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

Varma, R.). The purpose of pyrolysis and gasification of waste is to minimize

emissions and to maximize the gain and quality of recyclable products. Moreover,
it sterilizes the hazardous components of the waste.

Plasma Pyrolysis

Unlike incinerators, here, waste is not combusted, but is made to

decompose through gasification in an oxygen-starved environment to reach its
basic molecular structure. Plasma pyrolysis or plasma gasification uses an
electrical arc gasifier to produce electricity and temperature at very high levels
to process waste. A device called plasma converter is used to break down
waste into elemental gas and solid waste (slag). In this system, high-voltage,
high-current electricity is passed between two electrodes, spaced apart,
creating an electrical arc where temperatures as high as 13,871C are reached.
In such a high temperature most types of waste are broken into basic elemental
components in a gaseous form, and complex molecules are atomized - separated
into individual atoms. Plasma is considered a 4th state, and at this stage, it
poses a considerable technological and budgetary challenge to construct a
municipal waste disposal-sized plasma arc facility.

Pelletization/Production of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF)

Refuse Derived Fuel refers to solid waste in any form that is used as fuel.
Generally, the term is used to mean solid waste that has been mechanically
processed to produce a storable, transportable and more homogeneous fuel for
combustion. RDF production and RDF incineration are the two essential elements
of an RDF system. Material separation, size reduction and pelletization come
under RDF production facilities. So, the process offers an enriched fuel feed for
thermal processes like incineration or for use in industrial furnaces. By shredding
MSW, or by steam pressure treating in an autoclave, RDF is produced. Here, the

Chapter 2

municipal wastes such as plastics and biodegradable wastes, are compressed

into pellets, bricks, or logs. Materials such as glass, metals etc. which are
noncombustible are removed during the post-treatment processing cycle with an
air knife or other mechanical separation processing.

6. Recovery and Recycling

Recovery involves the separation of valuable resources from the mixed
solid wastes, delivered at transfer stations or processing plants. It also involves
size reduction and density separation by air classifier, magnetic device for iron,
and screens for glass. Recycling can be defined as a process by which materials
meant for disposal are collected, reprocessed or remanufactured and are reused.
So, it is the most widely recognized form of source reduction involving the
process of separating, collecting, processing, marketing and ultimately using a
material that would have otherwise been discarded. Normally, recycling materials
include paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, wood, electrical and electronic
equipment, IT and telephone equipment, fluorescent tube, printer cartridge, tyre,
battery, glass, metal and the like. As a source reduction process, recycling reduces
reliance on landfills and incinerators, removes harmful substances from the waste
stream, and conserves natural resources by reducing the demand for raw
materials. The significance of recycling is threefold, that is, economic,
environmental, and health and social. It has an economic significance in the sense
that it reduces the disposal cost of waste, creates employment opportunities for
skilled and unskilled workforce, consumes less energy than the use of any other
raw material, reduces health care cost by improving sanitary conditions in urban
areas and reduces clogging of drains and pollution of water bodies. Its
environmental significance is that it improves environmental sanitation and
conserves natural resource. It has a social significance in the sense that a formal
recycling arrangement will help promote the social esteem of waste workers and

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

facilitate their upward social mobility due to increased earning. Generally, a

recycling programme includes the following elements:

Source Separation

It is the process of separating reusable and recyclable materials at the

point of generation. Separate containers are used for dropping materials of
different categories.


Here, the separated recyclable materials are brought to a specified drop-

off or collection centre. When a drop-off programme provides monetary
incentives to participate, it is called buy-back system.

Curbside programme

In this system, source-separated recyclables are collected separately

from regular refuse.

Recycling requires a number of processing techniques demanding different

types of equipment such as balers, can densifiers, glass crushers, magnetic
separators, wood grinders and scales.

Material Recovery Facilities (MRF)

MRF is a largescale material recovery facility. MRF is a centralized

facility that receives, separates, processes and markets recyclable material. MRF
system processes materials uniformly by accessing it directly from Municipalities.

In India, recycling of inorganic materials from MSW is often well developed

through the activities of the informal sector, although municipal authorities seldom
recognize such activities. Some key factors that affect the potential for resource
recovery are the cost of separating recyclable material and the separated material, its
purity, its quantity, and its location. The costs of storage and transport are the major

Chapter 2

factors that determine the economic potential for resource recovery. Recycling is
often well established in the informal sector because it is done in a very labour-
intensive way and provides very low incomes (Da Zhu et al.).

Table 2.11 Physical Composition of Solid Waste in 1 Million Plus Cities

and State Capitals in India (Average Percentage Value)
Serial Number

Inert Material
Name of the

Rubber &




1. Bangalore 51.84 11.58 9.72 0.78 0.35 17.34 1.14 2.29

2. Ahmedabad 40.81 5.28 5.29 0.79 0.30 39.28 0.92 5.00
3. Nagpur 47.41 6.87 7.45 0.92 0.29 18.01 5.38 9.48
4. Lucknow 47.41 6.87 7.45 0.92 0.29 18.01 5.38 9.48
5. Indore 48.97 6.10 5.77 0.55 0.15 31.02 2.95 2.41
6. Bhopal 52.44 9.01 12.38 0.55 0.39 18.88 0.09 2.65
7. Agra 46.38 6.12 8.72 0.85 0.11 30.07 1.97 3.92
8. Vadodara 47.43 5.98 7.58 0.47 0.47 27.80 1.28 4.86
9. Ludhiana 49.80 9.65 8.27 1.03 0.37 17.57 1.01 11.50
10. Patna 51.96 4.78 4.14 2.00 1.66 25.44 1.17 4.17
11. Jabalpur 48.07 7.67 8.30 0.35 0.29 26.60 2.15 4.42
12. Ranchi 51.49 3.17 3.45 1.79 1.45 25.92 1.45 4.97
13. Bhuwaneswar 49.81 5.74 5.70 0.46 0.79 27.15 2.10 3.21
14. Nashik 39.52 9.69 12.58 1.30 1.54 27.12 1.11 2.53
15. Raipur 51.40 8.31 7.07 0.76 0.16 16.97 1.47 3.90
16. Allahabad 35.49 7.27 10.33 1.23 0.40 31.01 1.83 7.34
17. Faridabad 42.06 8.57 13.73 0.83 0.18 26.52 2.52 4.14
18. Visakhapatnam 45.96 14.46 9.24 0.35 0.15 20.77 0.47 2.41
19. Meerut 54.54 4.95 54.48 0.30 0.24 27.30 0.49 4.98
20. Asansol 50.33 10.66 2.78 0.77 0.00 25.49 0.48 3.05
21. Dehradun 51.37 9.56 8.58 1.40 0.03 22.89 0.23 5.60
22. Guwahati 53.69 11.63 10.04 1.30 0.31 17.66 0.16 2.18
23. Jamshedpur 43.36 10.24 5.27 0.06 0.13 30.93 2.51 2.99
24. Dhandabad 46.95 7.20 5.56 1.79 1.62 26.93 2.77 4.41
25. Gandhinagar 34.30 5.60 6.40 0.80 0.40 36.50 3.70 5.30
26. Daman 29.60 10.54 8.92 2.15 0.41 34.80 2.60 4.90
27. Agartala 58.87 8.11 4.43 0.98 0.16 20.57 0.76 2.17
28. Kohima 57.48 12.28 6.80 2.32 1.26 15.97 0.18 1.86
Source: Data from Central Pollution Control Board

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

The rate of waste generation in India is growing very quickly owing to

urbanization and higher incomes. The current composition of waste carries a
high potential for recycling that is barely exploited. Generally, about
15 per cent of waste materialswhich consist mainly of paper, plastic, metal,
and glasscan be retrieved from the waste stream for further recycling.
Another 35 to 55 per cent of waste material is organic waste, which can be
converted into useful compost, leaving only 30 to 50 per cent that needs to go
to landfills. In India, waste materials such as paper, plastic, metal, glass,
rubber, leather, and rags are recycled mainly through private initiatives and the
informal sector. Organic waste recycling is still neglected by private
initiatives, because of its low value and the lack of a market for compost.
Composting is underdeveloped and remains the domain of the hundreds of small-
scale schemes run by private initiatives at the household or neighborhood level
and a few large-scale municipal composting sites. Statistical data show that
when per capita income increases, the organic content of solid waste decreases.
Currently, the income level in India is still very low, and the organic content is
much greater than in most industrial countries. These facts should be taken
into consideration when urban local bodies make solid waste management
(SWM) plans (Da Zhu et al.).

Chapter 2

Table 2.12 Chemical Characteristics of Municipal Solid Wastes (Average

Values) of 1 million plus Cities and State Capitals.
Name of the City

Volatile Matter

K Per cent as
P Per cent as

Hcv Kcal/kg
C Per cent

N Per cent

C/N Ratio
pH Range


Indore 30.87 6.379.73 38.02 21.99 0.82 0.61 0.71 29.30 1436.75
Bhopal 42.66 6.999.03 35.78 23.53 0.94 0.66 0.51 21.58 1421.32
Dhanbad 50.28 7.118.01 16.52 9.08 0.54 0.55 0.44 18.22 590.56
Jabalpur 34.56 5.8410.94 46.60 25.17 0.96 0.60 1.04 27.28 2051
Jamshedpur 47.61 6.20 8.26 24.43 13.59 0.69 0.54 0.51 19.29 1008.84
Patna 35.95 7.428.62 24.72 14.32 0.77 0.77 0.64 18.39 818.82
Ranchi 48.69 6.968.02 29.70 17.20 0.85 0.61 0.79 20.37 1059.59
Bhubaneshwar 59.26 6.417.62 25.84 15.02 0.73 0.64 0.67 20.66 741.56
Ahmedabad 32 6.2 8.0 63.80 37.02 1.18 0.67 0.42 34.61 1180
Nashik 74.64 5.27.0 59 34.22 0.92 0.49 38.17 3086.51
Raipur 29.49 6.657.99 32.15 18.64 0.82 0.67 0.72 23.50 1273.17
Asansol 54.48 6.448.22 17.73 10.07 0.79 0.76 0.54 14.08 1156.07
Bangalore 54.95 6.07.7 48.28 27.98 0.80 0.54 1.00 35.12 2385.96
Agartala 60,.06 5.217.65 49.52 28.82 9.96 0.53 0.77 30.02 2427
Agra 28.33 6.218.1 18.90 10.96 0.52 0.60 0.57 21.56 519.82
Allahabad 18.40 7.13 29.51 17.12 0.88 0.73 0.70 19.00 1180.12
Daman 52.78 5.886.61 52.99 30.74 1.38 0.47 0.6 22.34 2588
Faridabad 34.02 6.338.25 25.72 14.92 0.80 0.62 0.66 18.58 1319.02
Lucknow 59.87 4.89.18 34.04 20.32 0.93 0.65 0.79 21.41 1556.78
Meerut 32.48 6.167.95 26.67 15.47 0.79 0.80 1.02 19.24 1088.65
Nagpur 40.55 4.917.80 57.10 33.12 1.24 0.71 1.46 26.37 2632.23
Vadodara 24.98 34.96 20.28 0.60 0.71 0.38 40.34 1780.51
Gandhinagar 23.69 7.02 44 25.5 0.79 0.62 0.39 36.05 698.02
Visakhapatanam 52.70 7.58.7 64.4 37.3 0.97 0.66 1.10 41.70 1602.09
Dehradun 79.36 6.127.24 39.81 23.08 1.24 0.91 3.64 25.90 2445.47
Ludhiana 64.59 5.217.40 43.66 25.32 0.91 0.56 3.08 52.17 2559.19
Guwahati 70.93 6.417.72 34.27 19.88 1.10 0.76 1.06 17.71 1519.49
Kohima 64.93 5.637.7 57.20 33.17 1.09 0.73 0.97 30.87 2844
Source: Akolkar, A.B. (2005). Status of Solid Waste Management in India, Implementation
Status of Municipal Solid Wastes, Management and Handling Rules 2000, Central
Pollution Control Board, New Delhi.

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

Physical Composition of Municipal Solid Wastes in Kerala

Even though there are sixty Municipalities in the State, as of high level
of urbanization, most of the Grama Panchayaths are showing the characters of
urban areas particularly in respect of municipal solid waste generation. So the
State should plan to have waste management system in all the Grama
Panchayath areas. Out of the total waste generated, 13 per cent is accounted
for by City Corporations, 23 per cent by Municipalities, and the rest by Gram
Panchayaths. On the basis of a primary survey conducted among experts, the
following components of MSW are arrived at:

Percentage of Types of MSW

1.50% 0.50%
1.50% Compostable Organics
1.50% 10%
70% Rubber, Leather
Wood Waste

Source: Survey Data

Figure 2.4 Physical Composition of Municipal Solid Waste in Kerala

From the above chart, it is clear that 70 per cent of the States MSW
contains compostable organic waste. So, composting and biogas generation
are the high priority technology options suitable for the State. Even though
the physical composition of waste is available, the problem in Kerala is lack

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of segregation of waste. Segregation of waste is extremely important to choose a

strategy and is fundamental in the success of Solid Waste Management. So,
technology will succeed only if it is supported by technology users. In Kerala,
Municipalities are getting waste in a mixed up form and not in a segregated

Chemical Composition of Municipal Solid Waste in Kerala

The chemical composition of MSW is a major factor influencing soil,

water and air quality, which directly or indirectly affects plant, animal and
human life. Extreme Ph value of soil and water, variations in air ambient
quality etc. are serious threats to ecology. The following Table gives an idea of
the average chemical composition of MSW of the State (Average value based
on nine Municipalities of the State).

Table 2.13 Average Chemical Composition of Municipal Solid Wastes in Kerala

Moisture Calorific Organic
Density C N P K
Content Value pH Matter C/N
(Kg/m3) (%) (%) (%) (%)
(%) (K.Cal/Kg) (%)
541.63 55.74 1638.75 7.31 33.80 19.60 0.51 39.61 0.41 0.50

Mn Ni Cd Pb Cr Cu Zn
Fe (%)
(ppm) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm) (ppm)
1.32 191 22.71 1.88 164.57 66.57 106.58 190.83
Source: Ajayakumar Varma, R. (2006)

The 3R Concept

The 3R concept, to reduce, reuse, and recycle, is derived from the waste
management hierarchy. The hierarchy classifies waste management options
according to their desirability and waste reduction potential. Accordingly,
prevention of waste is the most favoured option and landfilling, the least
favoured. Waste management hierarchy is instrumental in the concept of
sustainability and Integrated Solid Waste Management. It reiterates that

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

minimum waste should hit the land and ensures optimum use of fast-depleting
natural resources. Hence, it is fundamental in conserving the environment.
Waste reduction, reuse, and recycling are the main categories that we need to
focus on, regarding the 3R concept to see how they fit in the hierarchy. As
stated before, the main objective is to reduce the amount of waste that is
disposed of in landfills. The 3R concept fosters co-operation among waste
generators, waste collectors, processors, and manufacturers. In short, it aims at
reducing waste to be disposed of in landfills, thereby reducing the
deterioration of the environment, reducing the emissions that landfills produce,
and saving energy and natural resources. The following Figure shows the
waste management hierarchy, listing out the most preferred to the least
preferred option from its top to bottom.







Figure 2.5 Waste Management Hierarchy

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7. Waste Disposal
Disposal means the final process whereby the ultimate wastes that have
no further use to the society hit the land. The usual method of disposing MSW
is landfilling, prior to which recycling, energy recovery, and volume reduction
are done. Generally, engineered or sanitary landfills are used for final disposal
of MSW. These landfills create minimum nuisance to public health.


The thought of sanitary landfills was first started due to the significant
threats imposed by open dumps on human and environmental health. It
replaced the open dumps that posed, and continue to pose, serious health
hazards. These primitive landfills were, literally, naturally occurring depressions
in the landscape or sand or gravel pits and borrow areas that were filled with
waste and then covered with a minimum amount of soil. Sanitary landfilling is a
systematic manner of laying solid waste between layers of soil to facilitate the
waste's gradual decomposition. So, modern landfills are highly engineered
containment systems, developed to minimize the adverse effect of MSW on the
environment and human health. In the case of modern sanitary landfills, a liner
system is used to separate the waste from the ground water, and rain water is
prevented from entering the waste by a landfill cap. This is called dry-tomb
landfilling which minimizes the potential environmental impact of the leachate
by reducing its generation and restricting it within the landfill. Leachate is water
that has moved through the landfill and collected water-soluble compounds
from the waste. Leachate flowing out from the landfills should not be allowed to
contaminate the surrounding soil and ground water, as it may pose severe
environmental damage. This dry-tomb method of landfilling is primarily a
storage method for solid waste, which requires land-use restrictions and
continuing maintenance. In the absence of perpetual maintenance, landfill caps

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

may fail, allowing the infiltration of rain water and the subsequent uncontrolled
generation of leachate. If the liner system also fails, this leachate may pose
serious health risks to the community and the environment.

Bioreactor Landfill

The main purpose of bioreactor landfill is the treatment of waste. A

bioreactor landfill is a system that is isolated from the environment and that
enhances the degradation of refuse by microorganisms. Microbial degradation
may be promoted by adding certain elements (nutrients, oxygen, or moisture) and
controlling other elements (such as temperature or pH). The most widely used and
understood method of creating a landfill bioreactor is the recirculation of leachate,
since the element that usually limits microbial activity in a landfill is water. The
recirculation of leachate increases the moisture content of the refuse in the landfill
and, therefore, promotes microbial degradation. If leachate recirculation alone
cannot raise the moisture content to levels at which microbial growth is enhanced
(40 per cent by weight, minimum), water may need to be added to the waste.

Bioreactor landfills have certain advantages such as waste stabilization and

settlement, landfill gas production, reducing the toxicity of leachate and thereby
minimizing environmental damage. The enhanced speed and degree of microbial
degradation, achieved through leachate recirculation, ensures a much faster decay
of the waste. The refuse is said to be stabilized when no further degradation of the
waste can occur. In a bioreactor landfill, stabilization should occur within ten
years or less; but, it will never occur or takes up to a hundred years in a sanitary
landfill. Because of the settlement of the refuse due to constant gas release and
faster degradation, the additional space derived can be used for filling more solid
wastes, thereby extending the working life of the landfill. Bioreactor landfill
speeds up the gas production, because of rapid microbial degradation, which can

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be finally used for heating or electricity generation. It prevents the escape of

landfill gases to the environment and thereby reduces the negative impact of these
greenhouse gases on the environment. Moreover, these landfills work by
recirculating leachate which in turn, reduces the toxicity of it (Kerry L. Hughes
et al. 2004).

Role of Stakeholders in Solid Waste Management

Community participation is the key to the success of an Integrated Solid

Waste Management System. Stakeholders are the parties who are affected by
or involved directly or indirectly in the MSWM system. The following groups
are considered to be parties who can play an important role in the system:

Residents Associations

Being agencies in close contact with residents, these associations can

perform significant contributions in the field of MSWM. Definitely, active
participation from their part will support and supplement Municipalities in
their efforts for a perfect SWM system.

Self-Help Groups

In the Municipalities of Kerala, Self-Help Groups like Kudumbasree

are actively involved in waste collection and treatment, with the support of
Municipalities. These types of agencies can play a prominent role in MSWM.

Non-Government Organizations

These form another group involved in waste management. They are

making immense contributions in waste collection and treatment of MSW.

Community-Based Organizations

They can also play a very serious role in managing MSW.

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

Private Companies

Private companies are widely involved in waste collection, treatment and

processing. Municipalities do not have the required infrastructure facilities to
manage solid wastes. So, the task is often contracted to private companies.

Political Parties

Political parties are capable of influencing people mostly. Being socially

oriented groups, they can be involved in campaigning and education programmes
for SWM.

Legal Framework of Municipal Solid Waste Management in India

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Solid Waste

Management in the Worlds Cities, 2010, reported: India is a world leader in
working on preventing, reducing and managing healthcare waste. Biomedical
Waste (Management and Handling) Rules established in 1998 are in force as
part of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The legislation is still in the
process of development and promulgation in another ten countries of the
region. Although India has advanced in having legislation, informal sources
reveal compliance to the legislation may not be more than fifteen per cent. A
critical area is its compliance and enforcement. This is the Indian situation
regarding biomedical waste management. Following this legislation, in 2000,
another one was passed for organized management of municipal solid wastes
named, Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2000 under
the Environmental Protection Act.

Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2000

The Ministry of Environment and Forest notified Municipal Solid Waste

(Management and Handling) Rules 2000 and made it mandatory for all

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Municipal Authorities to implement the rules in the country, irrespective of

their size and population. So, these rules shall apply to every Municipal
Authority responsible for the collection, segregation, storage, transportation,
processing and disposal of municipal solid wastes. The following seven
directives are put forward for the efficiency of the system.

1) Separate storing of biodegradable and recyclable materials should

be at source in two separate bins meant for the purpose, to prohibit
littering of waste on the streets.

2) Door-to-door primary collection of both biodegradable and non-

biodegradable waste, including slums and squatter areas daily at
regular timings.

3) Street sweeping covering all the residential and commercial areas

on all the days of the year, irrespective of Sundays and public

4) Arranging covered containers or closed body waste storage

facilities and abolish all open waste storage facilities.

5) Daily transportation of waste by using covered vehicles only.

6) Collection of all biodegradable waste to be treated by using

composting or waste-to-energy technologies without violating the
standards laid down.

7) Minimizing the waste reaching the landfill and disposal only of

rejects from the treatment plants and inert material at the landfills
as per the standards laid down in the rules.

The rules are to be implemented and monitored in a time-bound manner.

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

Manual for Municipal Authorities

A national manual on Solid Waste Management to help the Municipal

Authorities was published in May 2000 based on the recommendation of the
expert panel constituted by the Ministry of Urban Development and made
available to all the States.

Compliance of MSW Rules 2000

Even though the compliance date was fixed as 31st December 2003, a
complete compliance within that date was not achieved. Many cities and
towns are still in the preparatory stage while some have advanced considerably
under the compulsion of different bodies. All the States have to submit an
annual report regarding the compliance level but many fail to do so. Based on
a study it was found that one hundred twenty-eight class I cities of India
responded and the status of compliance as on 1 April 2004 shows that there
was insignificant progress in the matter of processing of waste and construction
of sanitary landfills, and only about one-third compliance had taken place in
the remaining five steps. In the opinion of the Municipalities, non-compliance
in waste collection was due to lack of public awareness, motivation and
education, lack of publicity through media, financial problems, resistance to
change, non-co-operation of the public, insufficient litter bins in Municipal
limits, insufficiency of equipment and vehicles, and lack of Govt. support. The
entire responsibility of implementation as well as development of required
infrastructure lies with the Municipal authorities. They are directed to obtain
authorization from the State Pollution Control Boards/Committees for setting
up waste processing and disposal facilities, and to furnish annual reports of
compliance (Asnani, P. U. 2006).

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Government Intervention in Municipal Solid Waste Management in Kerala

Sensing the potential health threats and environmental hazards imposed by

mismanaged solid wastes, the State Govt. has come forward with a series of
remedial measures to tackle the issues. The most important among them is The
Kerala Municipal (II Amendment) Act, 2011. As per the Act, the responsibility to
treat, process and dispose of the biodegradable waste generated by hospitals,
markets, marriage halls, chicken stalls and flats is vested with the respective
parties who generate it. According to the Suchitwa Mission, Kerala, all
Corporations, fifty per cent of the Municipalities, and ten per cent of the Grama
Panchayaths are having waste treatment facilities, like composting or biogas
plants. Public opposition against waste treatment plants leads to the stoppage of
them in many places in the State. The shortcomings of the existing waste
treatment plants in Kerala invite public protest on a large scale, against starting
modern treatment plants. The moisture content of solid wastes in the State ranges
from fifty to seventy percent, which restricts the speedy treatment of waste and
effects leachate emission in large volumes. As the State is extremely falling short
of free space, modern treatment plants which consume less space and reduce
pollution are the need of the day. The Suchitwa Mission, after a detailed enquiry,
short-listed the technology providers capable of providing complaint-free modern
treatment plants. As remedial measures for the waste menace existing in the State,
the Govt. has started financing schemes for modernizing the existing plants in
Municipalities and starting new modernized plants where there is no such plant
existing. Seventy-five per cent subsidy for treatment plants initiated at Grama
Panchayath level and waste treatment at source at household level. The Govt. has
banned plastic below forty microns in the State.

The major programmes carried out during the year 2011-2012 by the State
Government with the active support of the Suchitwa Mission are the following:

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

1) Encouragement given to source treatment of solid waste at household level

by providing 75% subsidy (50% grant from Government and 25% from
Local Self Government), with subsidy at the rate of ` 500 per flat, subject
to a minimum of ` 15,000 per flat unit at Thiruvananthapuram.

2) Officials concerned with ULBs and Panchayats were trained in making

Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for such activities, releasing an amount
of ` 19.32 crore to the ULBs for upgradation of existing plants and ` 3.84
crore for new plants.

3) A wide search was conducted to explore the possibility of bringing in

modern technologies which are functioning in other parts of the
country/world successfully. The Suchitwa Mission has done short-listing
of such technologies, which primarily do not generate bad odour and
leachate. The technologies shortlisted include improved biomethanation,
pyrolisis and gasification, which generate electricity.

4) The procedures for establishing modern modular municipal solid waste

processing plants on a pilot scale at Thiruvananthapuram for handling
35 Tonnes Per Day (TPD) of waste have been completed by the Suchitwa

5) Waste management projects have been shifted from the service sector to
the production sector, by which the LSGIs get opportunity to utilize
more funds for waste management.

6) In order to fill the gaps in the legal sector amendment has been made by
bringing in an ordinance vesting the responsibility of waste treatment with
commercial establishments like hotels, hospitals, kalyanamandapams,
chicken and meat stalls, etc. Punishment for littering and disposing of
waste into water bodies has also been enhanced. Control on use of carry

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bags and recycle/reuse of waste plastic carry bags has been encouraged
by making provisions in the amended legislation.

7) One-year intensive IEC (Information, Education and Communication)

programmes aiming at Malinya Vimukta Keralam are conducted in the

8) Actions have been taken to purchase mobile incinerators and baling

systems, and to establish sanitary landfills in abandoned quarries after
taking necessary precautionary measures.

9) Devices such as pipe composting, bucket composting, pot composting,

bio-bins, etc. were given approval, so that subsidy could be provided to
them also.

10) An intensive awareness campaign on decentralized waste management

has been started by the Suchitwa Mission along with the leading daily
Malayala Manorama, which is called Vruthi Samrudhi.

11) A programme for making the gram panchayats waste free, Suchitwa
Gramam, Haritha Gramam was inaugurated.

12) A workshop on septage management was organized at Thiruvananthapuram.

13) Interview for approving new service providers in waste management

was carried out. The list is just to be submitted to the Government.

The Proposed programmes to be implemented immediately are the following;

1) Modern Solid Waste Management Plant of 35 TPD capacity, using

gasification technology, will be started functioning at Thiruvananthapuram,
under PPP mode.

2) Modern solid waste management plants of 300 500 TPD capacity will
be set up at Ernakulam and Kozhikode under PPP and they will start
functioning soon.

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management

3) Modern solid waste management plants with about 50 100 tpd capacity
will be established at Thrissur, Kottayam and Kannur.

4) Mobile incinerators will be purchased for Thiruvananthapuram and used

for incineration of wastes.

5) Till the modern plant is established, for treating wastes, sanitary landfill
in a quarry will be used at Thiruvananthapuram. Baling system on lease
for baling of waste will be put in place.

6) Funds will be provided to ULBs for upgrading the existing plants, based
on DPRs prepared by them.

7) Integrated solid and liquid waste management systems will be

established in at least 50 per cent of the gram panchayats. Funds for this
will be met from the Government of India funds and Plan Funds.

8) The Total Sanitation Campaign Project will be revisited to achieve full

coverage under individual household latrines, school toilets (based on the
strength of students in schools), anganwadi toilets, community sanitary
complexes, and solid and liquid waste management (household level and
institution level).

9) Plastic shredding/recycling units will be set up in different districts of

Kerala. Necessary action will be taken to facilitate co-incineration of
plastics in Malabar Cements and use of shredded plastics in road tarring.

10) Source level treatment and decentralized waste management will be

popularized using educational institutions, NGOs, and all concerned.
The programmes of Malinya Vimukta Keralam, Vrudhi Samrudhi, and
Suchitwa Gramam Haritha Gramam will be carried out effectively.

11) Special waste management package will be designed for tourist spots
and pilgrim centres to achieve environmental sanitation.

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12) A waste management policy will be released for the State.

13) Master Plan on Waste Management for the State will be prepared and

(George Chakkancherry , 2012)

Background of the Study

In Municipal limits of Kerala, the population density is very high and a
slight mismanagement of solid wastes will create a chain of multidimensional
reactions scaling the issues to unmanageable heights. Kerala being a State
gifted with six months monsoon annually, a careless SWM will multiply the
issues. Nowadays, Municipal Solid Waste Management has become a very
delicate subject in Kerala which, in turn, attracts a lot of public cries wherever
the solid waste seems to be mismanaged. Poor land availability for waste
treatment and disposal acts as predominant block for Municipal Authorities to
find solutions to the burning solid waste issues. From a preliminary study of
the MSWM database of Kerala, it is found that its MSWM efforts are not even
at the bare minimum standards. Solid Waste Management is a subject which is
required to be handled with utmost care from its very generation to ultimate
disposal, by authorities as well as stakeholders, because of the potential health
threats it can impose on the masses. Currently, the solid waste scenario of the
State is extremely fragile as it has been experiencing a series of life-
threatening, rare diseases during the last decade. In the light of these
experiences, the effectiveness of Municipal Solid Waste Management of the
State requires special attention. Hence, this study has been conducted with the
main objective of understanding the effectiveness of Solid Waste Management
of Municipalities in Kerala.

Theoretical framework of Solid waste management


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